Why did I buy it?
This was one of the first pedals I bought in around 1996. I purchased it because I had read an article recommending that all guitarists use one despite not really knowing what a compressor was. It has now been part of my pedal board for over ten years.
How does it sound?
I have a strange relationship with this pedal. Firstly the “sustain” function is next to useless because the pedal is just too noisy. But rolling back the sustain knob to about 9 o’clock gets the pedal acting like a compressor instead. People say a good compressor shouldn’t be noticed, and indeed I normally don’t notice this pedal – so much so that I have occasionally played with it off and not noticed! It probably works best during a quieter song when I am trying to pick single notes in chords where it helps even out the volume and attack of each note. However as soon as things hot up I don’t find this pedal particularly necessary and often just turn it off because it can suck the tone just a bit if you don’t have the tone knob set just right. I’ve also spent ages turning it on and off trying to hear what difference it makes. Sometimes I can hear it, but most times I cannot.
I’ve also tried to use it with acoustic guitar but found it unnecessary, and also with bass. Although it does work better with bass I am slightly concerned that it cuts some of the low frequencies as it has never been as good as some of the built in compressors I’ve used on various bass amps.
Keep or sell?
Well I’ve had it for 14 years but never been particularly enthused by it. It sort of stays on my pedal board because it has always been there, however recently I am tempted to buy a new compressor from another manufacturer to experiment further with compression. Either I don’t really know how to handle compression on an electric guitar signal in which case I will find a new pedal equally uninspiring, or the new pedal will help my sound and in which case it was the CS-3 itself that was uninspiring.